Category Archives: Food (makes life worth living)

Let’s eat!

I am always in love with food but during the pandemic I’m besotted. I know I’m not alone. You know how everything tastes like cardboard when you’re grieving? I’ve decided this is the opposite: everything tastes FABULOUS.

The TV pundits say we’re eating out of boredom. I dunno. I’m not bored. Many things but not bored. We comfort ourselves with food too. That’s long-standing wisdom. I am comforted by food but this isn’t mindless eating I’m talking about, where someone shovels things in without really even tasting it or even knowing quite what they ate. It’s pleasure, a reward for living, for doing what has to be done. Sleep, food and sex are life’s essential rewards, right? I mean it doesn’t say it in the Constitution but that’s how I see it. Some people consider one or two or all three of that trio bothersome. I don’t understand such people.๐Ÿ˜€

If you stayed with me during the quarantine you’d eat well. I’ve made salmon vegetable soup, bisquits, pancakes, crepes, pan and deep-dish “Grandma’s Pizza”, pumpkin raisin muffins, lemon bread, spaghetti, linguine with kalamata olives & artichoke hearts, salmon loaf with wild rice, ziti & tuna with green olives & garlic, twice-baked potatoes mixed with sour cream & chives, healthy cookies, sesame noodles, chickpea/crushed tomatoes/pumpkin soup with lemon juice & curry, and even johnny-cakes — these are made of cornmeal & boiling water and then cooked in a big skillet. I had a bag of cornmeal in the fridge with a “best by” date of Sept 2019. It looked ok to me.๐Ÿ˜Š

The main thing I want and am not having are the big-ass salads that are mainstays in my “cuisine.” I just think lettuce is too iffy now. You can’t cook it or scrub it so I’ve tearfully eliminated lettuce for the time being. It’s not like lettuce, with its various recalls and E. coli outbreaks didn’t already have enough troubles.๐Ÿ˜•

I’m also craving shellfish and cheesecake. Not necessarily together. Those aren’t going to be happening either.

I’m fortunate to not be worried about food.

I think food should be front and center in life and too often its role is afterthought or even chore. That’s all wrong; we are nothing without food and it deserves to be lauded and celebrated. I’m on it.

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Poor man’s woman ‘s breakfront

It should be apparent to anyone who reads this blog semi-regularly that I an mad for food, decidedly one of those people who lives to eat. I like the trappings of meals; dishes, presentation, etcetera, but when it comes to spending money, I prefer generally to put it toward actual food. Still, I’ve been thinking for awhile that I’d like to display some of my pretty dishes. In my fantasies I imagine having a china cabinet with glass doors and lighted shelves. Why, the linked one costs a mere $2700 ๐Ÿ˜• and would only require removing perhaps half the other furniture in this small home to make space for it. So yeah, I’m not going to be buying anything like that but my yearnings haven’t ceased.

I’ve recently posted about fixing up found shelves and found drawers. After I got the small drawers I no longer needed the open shelves in my room, which had kind of been a stop-gap measure anyway. I didn’t want to part with the shelves so soon, especially considering their secret message on the back which was there when I spotted them awaiting trash day.

I’ve also got this little wooden piece that’s in the living area that I found and fixed up in 2018. I like it a lot and it’s been great.
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I was brainstorming and had an idea but wasn’t sure it’d work till I fetched the yardstick and did a few measurements. Voila! My idea, combining two pieces into one was going to work for my poor man’s woman’s simple breakfront. I thought breakfront was the right word and once I googled it, my definition was confirmed. A breakfront is merely two pieces, hence the break.

I put the open shelves on top of the white/orange/green unit (I don’t know what you call a piece of furniture with both a cabinet and drawers). The colors already matched; I just painted the backs of the open shelves white and took the long, narrow decorative front piece off the bottom and nailed it to the top. That last effort completed it – now it looks like one (intentional) piece. Standing 57″ tall and not 3′ wide, it’s of modest size but much bigger and it would likely overwhelm the space. (Furniture is swell but I still want room to walk around!) I was so excited to put dishes on the shelves. I realize without doors, the shelves & dishes will get dusty but I think the look of this makes it worth a bit of extra cleaning.
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In the process of making this I bumped – only bumped – my beautiful, stupid icicle lights that hang from the high narrow shelf on the wall (above my new “breakfront) and they quit working.๐Ÿ˜ I was bummed, all the more because it’s the second strand to quit. I’m wondering if I should try something else, maybe a single strand of lights.

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The lights that are no more

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Here’s ths new piece in context – I’m delighted๐Ÿ˜Š

Lastly, the square table is a new-to-me piece I found this summer. I’ve really been liking it. (I still have a bigger table stored away if I need it.) My dream table for this spot is small and round. Who knows – one may just turn up some day… I doubt, however, that a china cabinet of my fancies will show up so for now, I’m satisfied with my little piece.๐Ÿ˜Š

“Winter is coming”

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Over the past week I hauled home, sans vehicle, 16 28oz cans of Furmano’s tomatoes which means I now have a stash of 26. I take my tomatoesย seriously.ย Besides, they’re on sale for $1. I used to buy the “Chunky Crushed” but somewhere along the way added ingredients included Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid and Xanthan Gum, and that’s a few too many additives for my pleasure. The “Crushed” variety, although thinner consistency ๐Ÿ˜ข, merely has Citric Acid. Delicious Citric Acid! (I’m kind of kidding. Citric Acid is common and generally considered safe.) While I’m on it, “Diced” contain Calcium Chloride and Citric Acid but I rinse those before using. I stopped buying ready-made, jarred pasta sauces (too much salt & sugar) long ago and canned became my go-to. Furmano’s is tasty and regularly drops to $1 a can, so I stick mainly with them.

I guess I should mention I’ve never canned my own tomatoes and have no interest in starting. The memories of my mother spending days in the kitchen in hot, steamy summers working that scary pressure cooker remain strong. She’d be in a pretty foul mood and the whole enterprise appeared messy and chaotic. Also, um, the results, served up in future family dinners? They were not good, at least to my child self.๐Ÿ˜’

In the past I’ve made my own sauce from fresh tomatoes (which could be frozen instead of canned) but I really can’t get behind the reality that it takes 20 tomatoes or therabouts, to produce a measly cup of sauce. I don’t care forย them odds. Don’t get me started on having to buy tomato paste in order not to have thin, watery sauce…

Two winters ago I shared my tomato stash which looked like this. I have (more) time on my hands in winter to do things like arrange my tomato cans into a pyramid for the purposes of this blog clearly.๐Ÿ˜

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If you think one thin, middle-aged woman could not eat all that, you’d be wrong, friends! (She did & then some.)

What led to this post other than the 16-can-purchase was finding the wood shelves they’re pictured on, curbside yesterday. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with them but since they were solidly built & real wood (not pressed board crap) I figured I should just grab them. They were a perfect fit for a spot in the kitchen and after I’d lined up the tomato cans and admired them the words “Winter is coming” sprang to mind. And so it is. But by god I’ll have ๐Ÿ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next veggie stop: outside on the sidewalk?

In late 2017 I posted photos of *expired” marked down produce the small, local grocery store sells. It’s not unusual to see rotting vegetables or even mold; the addition of a SALES ARE FINAL NO RETURNS OR MONEY BACK sign particularly amused me. Here’s the original photos.

Recently the store stopped refrigerating said old produce. That’s right – why waste valuable cold storage on festering vegetables?! Now they reside in a cardboard display outside the cold bins. One of the main items is bagged lettuce – as IF bagged produce didn’t already have enough issues what with the various recalls and E. Coli outbreaks.๐Ÿ˜•
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Don’t look too closely

I have a few kitchen appliances but not a lot by most standards. I like to do – or at least think it’s probably a good idea to do – many tasks by hand, both for the exercise and because it makes me feel more connected to the food. (I’ve mixed and kneaded hundreds of pizza doughs, for example, and the process feels important and satifying). There are kitchen chores though, that aren’t possible without the help of an appliance, like a blender, which of course I have. To save space & money, I bought a food processor attachment for my Oster blender four years ago for $17. Thanks to it I could make fake icecream and things like hummus. I got good use from it.

In the winter the plastic base of the food processor attachment broke. I decided to try gluing it.

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The glued base

That worked for awhile but several times lately, rather than grind in its normal, high-decibel fashion, the food processor attachment, apparently not seated correctly due to the repair job, has made a HORRIBLE sound when I’ve turned it on, not unlike that bad grinding, scraping noise when a car shifts incorrectly. This sound is so alarming I’ve become frightened to use the attachment, even though hurriedly turning the machine off and trying to “reseat” the attachment tends to take care of the problem. I just don’t think my nerves can take it!๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So, I looked at Amazon. NOW Amazon wants an outrageous $50 for a new one and $34 for a used-like-new one. And it’s thin plastic! And not even high end caliber! $50?! Instead, I looked at other possibilities, keeping cost and “footprint” in mind, as well as ratings. This led me to a small, 4-cup Cuisinart food processor. I can assure you I’ve never owned a Cuisinart anything. Around my kitchen, in addition to Oster, the brand names tend toward Black & Decker, Hamilton Beach, etcetera. Serviceable, unfancy wares. The reason I purchased the little Cuisinart (for under $20) was because it is refurbished through a program called Amazon Renewed. Basically, a supplier fixes up used appliances and they re-sell them (I bought a refurbished Sony CD/cassette player from Amazon in 2017 and its been fine).

Here’s what caught my eye today in the description of Amazon’s refurbished goods:

The products will have minimal to no signs of wear and no visible cosmetic imperfections when held 12 inches away.

12″ huh? I bet they’re just dreamy from oh, 8 feet away. What they’re really saying here is:

You’ll like it better if you don’t look at it too closely.

Are those words to live by or what? As someone who very routinely looks at everything closely, I can see how I’d be well-advised to apply this philosophy to more of my life, not just used kitchen appliances!